– compulsory arbitration to resolve pay increase situation
The Guyana Labour Union (GLU), through its General Secretary, Mr Carvil Duncan, announced yesterday that plans to call out workers employed by the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown, to engage strike action, have been shelved.
According to Duncan, he was informed that Labour Minister Mazoor Nadir has opted to intervene in the feud between the union and the municipality with regards to an increase in the workers’ wages and salaries.
However, when the minister was contacted on the matter yesterday, he informed that he could not offer a comment.
Duncan disclosed yesterday, though, that the minister was committed to having compulsory arbitration undertaken, in order to have the matter resolved.
On Thursday, the General Secretary had informed this newspaper that the union was prepared to call out the workers it represents into strike action if no intervening measure was engaged.
According to Duncan, the Minister of Labour has the power under the law to demand that compulsory arbitration be engaged in the matter.
However, he had related that it is his understanding that the minister was awaiting feedback from Chief Labour Officer Mohamed Akeel before attempting any level of intervention.
According to Duncan, the minister can also exercise his right not to intervene in the matter, leaving the situation to be dealt with at the discretion of the union.
Meanwhile, a release issued by the municipality yesterday refuted claims that the council seems to be taking care of staffers in managerial positions and neglecting the lower classes of workers.
The release added that, earlier this year, the council negotiated increases in wages and salaries with both the GLU and the Guyana Local Government Officers Union (GLGOU) that represent the workers of the municipality.
“The GLGOU (which represents primarily officers of the council) accepted the council’s offer of 10 per cent for 2008, forgoing any increases in wages and salaries for its members for 2007,” the release added.
However, it was noted that the GLU rejected the 10 per cent which was offered and had stated that the workers should, in fact, be paid 10 per cent for 2007 and another 10 per cent for 2008.
The council, the release noted, could not afford such an increase, and therefore agreed to move to conciliation.
“Talks broke down and the matter advanced to arbitration. When the parties met, they could not agree on the character of the arbitration…” stated the release.
As such, the council had suggested a tripartite panel while the GLU insisted on a single arbitrator.
“Neither side was willing to change its position. As a consequence, the minister has to intervene to allow all parties involved to find a way forward,” the release pointed out.
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